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Going it alone? – Essential Guide

Are you a self-starter? Here’s an essential guide…

1. How I got what it takes?

You’re a self-starter. No one has to tell you to get things going. You don’t get intimidated easily. 
You like control of your own destiny
You enjoy competition.
You’re comfortable taking advice from others.
You’re adaptable to changing conditions.
You have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.
You have will-power and self-discipline.
You’re able to assess risk and make business decisions quickly.
You don’t see mistakes as failure.

2. The most important things you need to do before you quit the day job?

Make sure your financial house is in order.
Do your homework.
Have a plan.
Moonlight first.
Strategise the transition.

3. What are the biggest challenges to starting a business?

Having to wear all of the hats
Having to learn everything FAST
Cash flow
Time management. 
Maintaining balance. 
What are the biggest mistakes start ups make?
Not doing market research.
Backing up the great idea with empirical research
Thinking that business plans are only for the big guys
Thinking you can do it all by yourself.
Thinking that success will come quickly or easily.

4. How much start-up capital does a typical small business need?

Determine how much you’ll need by doing your business plan and speaking with your financial advisors. Armed with this information, you can then make an informed choice to either raise the necessary funds, or scale back your plans to match your current financial situation.

5.  Are there any tax advantages to starting a small business?

Maybe some contributors can add to this section

6. What are the best ways for a small business to obtain start-up capital?

Bank loan is an option if you can convince the bank that the business, you or collateral you put up to back up the loan will pay it back.
Work another job.

Part-time. If you’re confident that your new business can generate at least half your income, consider cutting back your full-time job to part-time, and dedicate the remainder to focusing on your new business.

Piggyback. Some solo businesses are launched with the support of an employed spouse or partner. With one full-time salary to cover basic needs, the would-be entrepreneur can focus on the new business. The goal is to channel money usually spent on other living expenses toward the new business.

Family and friends If you know you’ll need a larger amount of start-up money, and you’re looking for outside funding other than a bank, consider creating a money pool with contributions from family, friends, or colleagues.

7. What’s the best way for you to price your product or service?

One way is to calculate what the product or service cost to produce, mark this up according to industry guidelines, and establish the price. The second is to sell the product or service at different price points and try to determine what the buyers will pay.

Crucial do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
Analyze all the costs that go into producing your product or service, before adding the cost of direct labour, (yours or that of staff), necessary to make the product
Don’t forget to count yourself as a labour component when calculating the cost of sales.
Don’t overlook direct overhead, the expenses such as rent or utilities for the studio, workroom, or office where you perform your labours.
Be sure to add a profit margin to the above before determining your wholesale cost.
Learn the range of prices charged by your competition — this information is invaluable.
Avoid the temptation to “price down” or to price gouge!
Don’t get discouraged if you miscalculate your pricing at first.

8. Important things to know to  turn your small business into a success?

Make sure you have chosen the right business. The type of business you choose — and the quality of customers it serves — ultimately determines the level of your financial success. If you find you have a turkey on your hands, move on.

Find support. Develop and nurture a network of colleagues, friends, and mentors. They can offer their guidance, wisdom and connections to your growing business. And remember to pace yourself; its a long road.

Attend to financial and legal matters before start-up.  Don’t find yourself scrambling to put important pieces of the business’ structure in place after you’ve opened your doors.

Design your office so it works.  You’re going to be spending a long time in here, so make sure its functional and comfortable with good equipment and lighting. And if you are going to spend money, put it into a decent computer.

Listen to what your customers are telling you. Remember, without them, you don’t have a business. And don’t forget to show your appreciation for their business and their referrals – it takes a lot more money to create a new customer than it does to keep a current one.

Set goals. Among high achievers, one thing is consistent: They tend to have goals, and they put them in writing. Goals are amazingly powerful tools. They capture our thoughts of “what might be” and turn them into “what will be.” They also clarify our thinking, and clarity is power. When we know where we want to go, we can plan how to get there.

Stay flexible and responsive. While maintaining focus, be open to new business opportunities. Don’t let occasional set-backs demoralize you. There is no perfection- there’s only ongoing improvement.